Top streams for the week
The one-man show “Springsteen on Broadway” (2018, not rated), featuring Bruce Springsteen sharing personal stories and performing acoustic versions of his music, has been one of the hottest tickets during its brief run. Netflix members can now get a front row seat in this exclusive recording of the intimate, stripped down live show.
Olivia Cooke is Becky Sharp in the mini-series “Vanity Fair” (2018), based on the satirical novel by William Makepeace Thackery about a scheming social climber in 19th century society. It costars Tom Bateman, Anthony Head, Martin Clunes, and Michael Palin as Thackery. The British coproduction is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Anna Kendrick stars as an overachieving single mom turned detective when her chic new best friend (Blake Lively) disappears in “A Simple Favor” (2018, R), a witty murder mystery with a light touch. On Cable on Demand and VOD, also on DVD and at Redbox.
Classic picks: get into the holiday spirit with perennial favorites “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), Frank Capra’s redemptive dark Christmas with a rousing climax starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, on Prime Video and “White Christmas” (1954), the colorful musical with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, on Netflix.
Pay-Per-View / Video on Demand
Tom Hardy is “Venom” (2018, PG-13) in the violent “Spider-Man” spin-off about an alien who turns its human host into a monstrous, flesh-eating creature. Also on DVD and at Redbox. Also new:
- family fantasy “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” (2018, PG) with Cate Blanchett and Jack Black;
- alien invasion action thriller “The Predator” (2018, R) from director Shane Black;
- “Fahrenheit 11/9” (2018, R), Michael Moore’s documentary on the Trump presidency;
- indie drama “All About Nina” (2018, R) with Mary Elizabeth Winstead;
- a modern reworking of “Little Women” (2018, PG-13) with Lea Thomson.
Sandra Bullock stars in “Bird Box” (2018, not rated), an end-of-the-world thriller on an intimate scale directed by Susanne Bier. The film co-stars Sarah Paulsen and John Malkovich and arrives on Netflix a week after a limited release in theaters.
Eddie Redmayne won the Academy Award for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” (2014, PG-13).
Foreign affairs: Catherine Deneuve and André Dussollier co-star in “Bad Seeds” (France, 2018, not rated, with subtitles), a crime comedy from actor/director Kheiron.
“Perfume: Season 1” (Germany, with subtitles) is a new adaptation of Patrick Suskind’s bestselling novel, updated to the present and reworked as a detective series about a murdered singer and a killer who turns human scents into exclusive fragrances. Six episodes.
Go back to the beginning of the revved-up action franchise with “The Fast and the Furious” (2001, PG-13), starring Paul Walker as an undercover cop and Vin Diesel as a street-racing car thief, and the sequels “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003, PG-13) and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006, PG-13).
Streaming TV: you can catch up with “Lucifer: Seasons 1-3,” the cop drama filled with angels and demons, as Netflix prepares to take over the series for its upcoming fourth season. Also new:
- young adult dramedy “Derry Girls: Season 1” set among high school kids in the turbulence of 1990s Northern Ireland;
- “Greenleaf: Season 3” from the Oprah Winfrey Network;
- British comedies “Flowers: Seasons 1&2” with Olivia Colman and “Bad Education: Complete Series” (2012-2014);
- non-fiction series “7 Days Out: Season 1,” which takes viewers behind the scenes of major historical and cultural events;
- reality show “The Casketeers: Season 1” about a funeral directors in New Zealand;
- animated prison thriller “Baki: Season 1” (Japan) and animated sci-fi series “Last Hope: Part 2” (Japan) for adult audiences;
- non-fiction series “Tales by Light: Season 3“;
- reality show “Back With the Ex: Season 1” from Australia.
Foreign language TV: a motley crew hunt demons in Mexico City in the supernatural thriller “Diablero: Season 1” (Mexico, with subtitles). Also new:
- action drama “Wolf: Season 1” (Turkey, with subtitles) about a special security police unit;
- “Sirius the Jaeger: Season 1” (Japan), an animated series about vampire hunters in Tokyo;
- reality series “Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 5” (Japan, with subtitles).
True stories: “Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski” (2018, not rated) profiles a forgotten Polish-American visual artist. Also new are four more “Once in a Lifetime Sessions” profiling OneRepublic, Snow Patrol, George Ezra, and Kasabian discussing and performing their music.
Also new: David Cronenberg’s sour Hollywood satire “Maps to the Stars” (2014, R) with Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska;
- “Kill the Messenger” (2014, R) starring Jeremy Renner as slain journalist Gary Webb;
- romantic drama “One Day” (2011, PG-13) with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess;
- crime thriller “Law Abiding Citizen” (2009, R) with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler;
- comedy “Baby Mama” (2008, PG-13) with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler;
- the “Death Race” (2008, R) remake with Jason Statham.
Kid stuff: Guillermo del Toro produces the animated “3Below: Tales of Arcadia: Part 1,” about alien teenagers hiding among the humans to evade intergalactic bounty hunters.
Stand-up: “Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable,” the comedian’s return to stand-up comedy, was filmed at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.
Amazon Prime Video
“Life Itself” (2018, R), a sentimental family melodrama written and directed by “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman, was one of the worst reviewed films of the year, despite a superb cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, and Mandy Patinkin.
Instead, try the heart-tugging drama “Any Day Now” (2012, R) with Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt as gay men attempting to adopt a neglected special-needs child in 1979.
Streaming TV: the comedy competition show “LOL – Last One Laughing: Season 1” (Mexico, with subtitles) pits comedians against each other. New episodes each Friday. Also new: the second season of the crime drama “4 Blocks” (Germany, with subtitles), set in the Arab community in Berlin.
Classics: Nancy Kwan and James Shigeta star in “Flower Drum Song” (1961), the big screen version of the Roger and Hammerstein musical.
True stories: “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library” (2017, not rated) is documentary filmmaking legend Frederick Wiseman’s in-depth look into the workings of one the biggest public libraries in the world.
Prime Video and Hulu
“A Most Wanted Man” (2014, R), based on the John le Carré novel, is a complex thriller of politics and intelligence in the post-9/11 world. Philip Seymour Hoffman (in his final film role) is superb as the head of a covert German intelligence team that monitors potential terrorist activity, a devoted patriot with a moral code in a culture of self-interest and power politics. Prime Video and Hulu.
Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikoswka star in “Damsel” (2018, R), an offbeat frontier comedy from indie filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner. Streaming on Hulu.
Matthias Schoenaerts is a psychologically scarred bodyguard whose obsessive protection of his charge (Diane Kruger) becomes dangerously delusional in “Disorder” (France, 2016, not rated, with subtitles).
Dysfunctional family comedy “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006, R), with Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, and Alan Arkin on a road trip in a finicky VW van, was the underdog indie hit of 2006 and won two Academy Awards.
The indie drama “Skate Kitchen” (2018, R) is set in the skateboarding culture of teenage girls in New York City.
Streaming TV: The complete second season of the Hulu Original superhero series “Marvel’s Runaways,” about a team of teenagers who flee their supervillain parents, is now available. Also new:
- “The Killing: Complete Series,” the American version of the dark Scandinavian crime drama, with Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman as Seattle cops investigating the murder of a 17-year-old girl;
- comic legal drama “Boston Legal: Complete Series” with James Spader and William Shatner;
- urban spy show “Burn Notice: Complete Series” with Jeffrey Donovan;
- con-man crime stopper show “White Collar: Complete Series” with Matt Bomer.
True stories: Oscar nominated documentary “Food, Inc.” (2008, PG) explores the corporate food industry.
Also new: Sundance Film Festival award-winner “Smoke Signals” (1998, PG-13), written by Sherman Alexie;
- cyber thriller “I.T.” (2016, not rated) with Pierce Brosnan;
- indie drama “Wonderland” (2003, R) with Val Kilmer as porn star John Holmes;
- Tom Cruise in “The Firm” (1993, R), based on the novel by John Grisham.
Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as the parents of three teenage girls in the prom night comedy “Blockers” (2018, R).
The documentary “Bleed Out” (2018, TV-14) looks at the state of American health care and the alarming rate of medical error.
Stand-up: “Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean” (TV-MA).
Arriving Saturday night is Wes Anderson’s animated “Isle of Dogs” (2018, PG-13), a playful fantasy adventure set in a near-future Japan.
In the viciously funny “The Death of Stalin” (2018, R), savvy political satirist Armando Iannucci reimagines the scramble for power in the Soviet Union as a savage comedy of petty grudges, unstable alliances, and literal backstabbing. Steve Buscemi is master survivor Nikita Khrushchev and Jeffrey Tambor and Michael Palin co-star.
Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache star in the Oscar-nominated drama “The Wings of the Dove” (1998, R), based on the novel by Henry James.
The British miniseries “Blood,” a psychological drama starring Adrian Dunbar as a doctor suspected by his daughter of murdering his wife. Six episodes streaming on Acorn TV.
Also new to Acorn TV is the feel-good Australian family drama “Secret Daughter: Complete Series” starring pop star Jessica Mauboy.
“A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong” (2017), a BBC holiday comedy special with Diana Rigg and Derek Jacobi, makes its US debut on BroadwayHD.
New on disc this week:
“Venom,” “A Simple Favor,” “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” “The Predator,” “Fahrenheit 11/9.”
Now available at Redbox:
“Venom,” “A Simple Favor,” “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” “Assassination Nation.”
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.